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Zee Media drops fiction from hybrid model TEN, increases focus on news

MUMBAI: Zee Media Corp, which had introduced a hybrid model for its regional news channels in the smaller or developing markets with ‘terrestrial entertainment network’ or TEN, has decided to do away with it and start focusing on its core competency—news.

In the TEN format, the channels offered a mix of news and current affairs with a punch of localised general entertainment content.

Now, the company has decided to drop fiction from the content line-up, thereby keeping the channels focused on news and infotainment channels.

“The message from new management is clear; don’t leave the character of the news. So we are just getting back to our old format of news plus infotainment. What we are doing is dropping fiction content,” says a source in the company.

He further added that the decision makes more business sense. “The markets where we tried the TEN format already have strong national Hindi general entertainment channels. We can’t match their budgets,” he added.

The model was used on three of Zee’s regional news channels—Zee Rajasthan Plus Marudhara (Rajasthan), Zee Purvaiya (earlier Maurya TV) in Bihar and Jharkhand, and Zee Kalinga in Odisha. The plan was also to adopt the format for Zee Sangam, but it was later dropped.

Incidentally, former Zee Media CEO Alok Agrawal had introduced the format. He had told that though there was demand for both news and entertainment in the regional markets within the Hindi-speaking belt, some markets may not have room for both pure-play news and pure-play entertainment channels.

“We will offer both news and entertainment. The vision is to stand for everything the region stands for—its culture, its flavour,” he had explained.

Agrawal has, meanwhile, quit and joined Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), and is now part of the Network18 management.

Sources have confirmed to that while only fiction will be removed from the content offering, it won’t be only news. The channel will have sufficient non-fiction programming.

Also read:

Zee Media’s hybrid model an answer to news broadcasting woes in smaller markets